Nashville’s hatWRKS posted a photo on Instagram on Friday announcing the sale of a Star of David patch that says “NOT VACCINATED,” according to CNN affiliates WZTV and WSMV. The post has since been removed.
The caption on the post read: “patches are here!! they turned out great. $5ea. strong adhesive back …. we’ll be offering trucker caps soon.”
CNN has made several attempts to reach the store’s owner, Gigi Gaskins, but has not heard back.
Jewish people in Europe were legally forced to wear badges as far back as the 13th century, according to the Holocaust Memorial Center. The Nazis resurrected this practice, which facilitated the Jews’ “separation from society and subsequent ghettoization, which ultimately led to the deportation and murder of 6 million Jews,” the center’s website says.
After the post was removed, another hatWRKS post from Friday said, “people are so outraged by my post? but are you outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing? if you don’t understand what is happening, that is on you, not me.”
A group of demonstrators gathered outside the store Saturday morning with signs that read “No Nazis in Nashville” and “Nashville condemns hatWRKS,” according to video from WSMV.
“We’re here to protest hate and ignorance with regard to what she’s doing in selling yellow stars that are a symbol of the greatest atrocity the world has ever seen, which is the loss of 6 million human beings,” Nashville resident Ron Rivlin told WSMV on Saturday outside the hat store.
“I think I understand what she was trying to do, but the way she did it was just, she doesn’t understand how offensive it is to the Jewish community and to everybody,” Rivlin said.
“This is not about vaccine or anti-vaccine. People are free to make their own decisions,” Rivlin added. “Jews didn’t have a choice whether to wear that star or not. They were forced to wear that star and that led to their eventual death,” said Rivlin.
“It’s a terrible idea. It’s a terrible thing,” Roger Abramson, an attorney from Brentwood, Tennessee, told WSMV.
“There’s no way you could reasonably associate choosing to go without vaccinations for Covid … and assuming that you’re in the same spot as a Jewish person in Nazi Germany,” Abramson said.
“To me, it’s willful ignorance,” Abramson continued. “The information is out there. People are willfully ignoring facts, information and history because it doesn’t fit what they want to believe or it doesn’t fit some narrative they have.”
Rabbi Laurie Rice, of Congregation Micah in Brentwood, told WSMV on Friday that “using the yellow star or any Holocaust imagery for anything really is a disservice to the memory of the 6 million Jews who were systematically murdered during the Holocaust.”
CNN’s Alta Spells contributed to this report.